Mini-pills are a form of contraception that using only one hormone helps you prevent unwanted pregnancy. It contains the hormone gestagen, reminiscent of the female sex hormone progesterone. Minipills are not quite at the same level as birth control pills when it comes to safety, but they do not have an increased risk of blood clots. Only on the basis of this is this contraceptive method very suitable for women who have previously had blood clots or have blood clots in the family. It is therefore a good alternative to the pill, which some women can not use.

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Why is it called mini pill?

Mini-pills can remind in many ways of birth control, which is a more known form of contraception. In contrast to birth control pills containing both gestagen and estrogen hormones, this drug contains only gestagen. Since they contain fewer hormones and do not contain estrogen at all, they have been called mini-pills. They are the mini version of the most common contraception pills.1

How do they work?

There are different types of mini-pills, and they have slightly different effects. They can be divided into low dose and high dose, sometimes also called “old” and “modern” mini-pills.

The so-called “old” mini-pills have the lowest dose gestagen, and work by making the mucus thicker in the cervix so that the sperm can not penetrate. Similarly, the hormone affects the uterus so that a fertilized egg can not get stuck and thus can not grow and create a pregnancy.

The modern pills have a higher dose of gestagen. This means that in addition to doing the same as the low dose drug, they also affect the body so that it does not ovulate. This is just the same effect that birth control pills have on the body.

How do I use the mini pills?

  • Start the first package on the first menstrual day or within 5 days.
  • Take one every day during bleeding as well. There is no 7-day break.
  • The low dose should be taken at the same time at the same time every day within 3 hours.
  • The high dose should be taken every day within 12 hours.
  • Since there is a difference when you should take these at low and high doses, it is important that you know what kind of prescription you have been prescribed to best avoid pregnancy in case of a forgotten pill.

Forgot a pill – what do I do?

In relation to patches and common birth control pills, the minipill is a more uncertain method, and it is therefore important that you take them within the time specified in the package leaflet. If you forget to take it on time, you are no longer effectively protected from pregnancy. You must continue to take them every day, but in the next 7 days you will need another form of contraception as a condom to protect you from unwanted pregnancy.

What are the benefits of mini pills?

There are both major advantages and disadvantages of choosing this type of hormonal contraception. It is therefore important that you become aware of it before selecting your preferred form of contraception. Here you can see a list of both the pros and cons of this contraceptive form.

The benefits of mini pills are:

  • They do not increase the risk of blood clots as opposed to regular birth control pills
  • If you take them on time, they have 98% protection effect
  • You will not be interrupted in the gathering


  • Your menstrual period may be irregular, completely interrupted, or you may experience interstitial bleeding instead
  • Mini-pills should be taken at the same time, otherwise the effect will be reduced
  • Hormonal contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, chlamydia and HIV
  • Some people experience mood swings or feel depressed

What mini pills can I buy in the UK?

Mini pill side effects

Like other forms of contraception containing hormones, some side effects may occur. Some of these may be bleeding, mood swings, weight gain or non-menstrual periods. A complete stop of menstruation can affect many women a lot. Either because they are afraid that they have become pregnant or because they feel it is unnatural not to have the monthly bleeding. But in relation to health, this is not a problem at all.

Mini pill bleeding (period)

Some women will experience very irregular bleeding. When taking the pill every day, there will be no “break” of sugar pills as you see with birth control pills. You must continue to take them even if you have your bleeding.

As mentioned earlier, some women will end up getting monthly menstruation. Some think it’s an advantage, while others think it feels unnatural.

Some will also experience small, middle bleeding episodes. It can be very annoying. Most will only experience this the first 2-3 months. If this continues, talk to your doctor about choosing another form of contraception.

How safe is this form for contraception

Since this contraceptive contains only a hormone and must be taken very accurately for full effect, they are not as safe as birth control pills. If they are taken correct, they have the same effect as a spiral. They are a good alternative to birth control pills, as they do not increase the risk of blood clots. But if you want to be more sure you do not get pregnant, you can choose to use this method with the condom.

When using this form of hormonal contraception, you are not protected from sexually transmitted diseases. If you want to protect yourself from diseases such as herpes, genital warts, HIV and chlamydia, you need a condom. If you have a regular sex partner where you have both been checked for diseases, it should be safe to have sex without a condom. If you have multiple sex partners, it is important to use a condom to avoid being infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

Who can use minipills?

Almost all women can use this form of contraception, as they only contain a hormone, and therefore do not have as many side effects as birth control pills. However, the safety is also not as high, and most people who want the best protection, therefore, choose birth control pills. If you have previously had a blood clot or there is a tendency for this in the family, birth control pills or p-plastics are not a good solution. Here, this method can still provide high protection while the risk of blood clots does not increase. In addition, lactating women may also use mini pills.


  1. The progestogen-only pill – NHS